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Carlos Slim is world's richest man, Bill Gates now number two

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Mexican telecoms bazillionaire Carlos Slim is the world's richest man, pushing Bill Gates into second place.

Gates has been at or near the top of the Forbes Rich List for most of the last 15 years - he retook the top spot from uber-investor Warren Buffett last year, despite retiring and starting to give away his massive fortune.

Slim is now worth $53.5bn, thanks mainly to his stake in America Movil. Gates is second with $53bn in the bank - boosted by a 50 per cent rise in Microsoft's share price which added $13bn to his cash pile this year.

Buffett came in third place with $47bn - up $10bn on last year thanks to investments in Goldman Sachs, General Electric and railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

In sixth place is Sun-Oracle's 65-year-old Larry Ellison with an estimated fortune of $28bn. Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page are in joint 24th place with $17.5bn, while Steve Ballmer languishes in 33rd spot with $14.5bn.

The first Brit on the list is the Duke of Westminster - his property empire is worth an estimated $12bn.

The youngest name on the list is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg with an estimated wealth of $4bn - the same as Formula One promoter Bernie Ecclestone.

The last year has been kind to the 1,011 billionaires Forbes has found. Average net worth is up $500m and only 12 per cent have seen their fortunes fall in the last twelve months. US citizens make up 40 per cent of the list. This year there are 27 new billionaires from China while Finland and Pakistan have names on the list for the first time.

The magazine ranked the world's richest according to stock markets on 12 February. It tries to include stakes in private and public companies, property, gems, yachts and planes as well as cash. But Forbes admits: "We look hard for debt but are not able to find all of it."

The full list of the world's richest 1,000 people is here. ®

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